Eastbourne RFC u14's
u15's Match reports 2009.10

EASTBOURNE U15's vs Heathfield (20/09/2009)
CLIMATE CHANGE
 
Eastbourne U15s’ traditional early season crunch against County A League Heathfield used to be a high scoring affair with the blue and golds feeling the warmth of a 60 or 70 point margin. This year saw a new attitude and the cooler climes of a halved scoreline., 7-39. Eastbourne were quicker to the ball, stronger in the tackle and better in their positioning than in previous years and, with Alex Voss Hillier kicking through adroitly and following up at pace to collect the ball, notched a spectacular try to end the match and lift morale. 
 
Fraser “Faces!” Brooks’ vocal chords etched newer deeper grooves as Eastbourne pressed the opposition much more effectively and met their aggression with spirit and shoulders. Heathfield’s well-drilled side could move the ball at pace and exploit the width of the pitch; they were skilful at recycling the ball and our tacklers sometimes took options which allowed them to find their passes. The greens were also very quick to press our side as we spread the ball. Last year we would have slumped under the onslaught; this year we matched them in open play, missing few tackles and making it hard for them to gain territory.
 
There were times when Heathfield punched gaps in Eastbourne’s line and terrier running provoked some panic in the blue defence in the opening minutes. Credit Eastbourne’s defence for steadying themselves and making the second quarter evenly fought. Three tries conceded in the second half came from steady pressure and just one from moving the ball, evidence of how much better our defence has become.
 
There were three men-of-the-match, signalling the collective determination of the side: Louis Hall, Austin Hogben and Ed Field. Manager Ian Newman, in reflective mood at his press conference, praised the team’s spirit.
 
Eastbourne u15's vs East Grinstead (4/10/2009)
 
It’s been coming for Eastbourne U15s for some time and on Sunday the team ground out a 31-0 win against East Grinstead in a tough lung-buster of a duel.
 
The opening 10 minutes gave no indication of scores to come as forwards locked shoulders and gave as good as they got. Eastbourne’s defence had to be firm, with tackles from Lawrence Harte and Louis Hall saving tries and percentage kicking pushing the opposition back. Finally, from a line out, slick and speedy handling opened play out, the ball moving the width of the pitch to the hands of Chris Maskill who kicked on and sprinted to the bounce to touch down. From the restart Eastbourne roared at the opposition, Tom Pashley and Dom O’Malley gaining ground ferociously until Harvey Padgett drove with horizontal determination through the defence for try number two.
 
The start of the second half saw blazered manager Ian Newman reshuffling his pack as Austin Hogben retired with an injury. Eastbourne renewed their purpose and wore down the Grinstead players, Lewis Milligan and Ed Field foraging fiercely and the speed of Alex Voss Hillier, Tom Pashley and Chris Maskill at chasing the ball harassing the Grinstead defence. With the line in sight, scrum half Peter Osborne fed Joe Skeet who bulldozed through a gap and used his height to evade outstretched arms for try three. Now Eastbourne were on top and, from a second scrum, Pashley gauged his run to take an Osborne pass and touch down between the posts. Pashley scored again soon after hunting down a handling error in the opposition. 
“This was a performance built in the summer from hard training,” boomed coach Fraser Brooks, joining the team from his exile beyond the posts where he spent the match imitating a foghorn.
 
Man of the match Bomber. Tries, Pashley (2) Skeet, Padgett, Maskill. 
Conversions Voss Hillier (2), Van Bentham
 
EASTBOURNE u15's vs Vectis (18/10/2009)
WIGHT SLAUGHTER SHAFTING
 
It wasn’t the bare knuckle full tilt experience coach Fraser Brooks hoped for. It wasn’t a relentless points gathering. And it wasn’t a merciless demolition of the visiting Isle of Wight Vectis squad. But it was tough, toe to toe, tackle upon tackle rugby and the best display by Eastbourne U15s yet. The loss was marginal – to one good try and one that camera replays would have disallowed but the spirit and energy shown by forwards and backs against a hard running, quick closing and tactical kicking Vectis side is our highest achievement yet. “No-one wanted to come off the pitch,” boomed Fraser as the team and parents donned ear muffs for the post-match talk. Manager Ian Newman praised the drive and determination of the players. 
 
There was no score in the first half as forwards battled for territory building on their strong scrum. The game swung both ways, Vectis moving the ball at pace and looking likely to break through but for brave tackling from Alex Prior, Laurence Harte and Louis Hall. Time and again Eastbourne drove forward but practised moves from the backs would not quite come off. It was a game for marauders and Charlie Mercer, Ed Field, Austen Hogben, Harvey Padget and Dom O’Malley took their chances to punch holes in the visitors’ defence. Several times, the team edged tantalisingly close to the try line but were beaten back by well judged kicks.
 
In the second half Eastbourne cycled players, giving new signings Robert Goubert and Scott Montague-Murdoch opportunities. In the frantic action there was one moment when time stood still for Sam Munton who had been resilient throughout. There was time too for tenacious tackling Peter Osborne.
 
Coach and manager point to further improvements in training but both revelled in the commitment and teamwork of a lung-bursting, muscle draining game.
 
 
SO CLOSE
 
Eastbourne U15s hosted Isle of Wight side Vectis in a tense and tenacious clash, narrowly losing to one good try and one that camera replays would have disallowed. Manager Ian Newman praised the spirit and energy shown by his forwards and backs against a hard running, quick closing and tactical kicking Vectis side.
 
There was no score in the first half as Eastbourne forwards battled for territory building on their strong scrum. The game swung both ways, Vectis moving the ball at pace and looking likely to break through but for brave tackling from Alex Prior, Laurence Harte and Louis Hall. Time and again Eastbourne drove forward but practised moves from the backs would not quite come off. It was a game for marauders and Charlie Mercer, Ed Field, Austen Hogben, Harvey Padget and Dom O’Malley took their chances to punch holes in the visitors’ defence. Several times, the team edged tantalisingly close to the try line but were beaten back by well judged kicks.
 
The pattern continued in the second half, but quick restarts from Vectis won enough space for two tries. Eastbourne were planted on the Vectis line in the final minutes but a breakthrough eluded them. MoM Dom O’Malley
 
 
EASTBOURNE U15's vs Uckfield (25/10/2009)
ROAST UCK IN ‘BOURNE FORCE
 
Eastbourne U15s turned the heat up on their Uckfield opponents to leave them charred and smouldering from a five to one try roasting. In a bruising, drive and counter drive game, there was little to choose between the sides but the blue and golds took their chances with Michelin star sprinting and finishing. “I’m thrilled, but…” ruminated coach Fraser Brooks, his words after the game muted by BT suppression engineers.
 
It took time to score with probing runs from Olly Brooks, Tom Pashley, Alex Voss Hillier and Lawrence Harte being repulsed by sizeable Uckfield defenders whose weight in the scrum pressed the blue and golds hard and whose kicking turned us back too often. Eastbourne’s perennial dithering at the ruck left too much ball for Uckfield and it tested our last ditch tackling with Austen Hogben and Josh Rafferty McWall quick to close runners down.
 
Into the second quarter inroads down the flank led by Ed Field raised the gas mark; as Uckfield tried to drive their way back, Eastbourne snaffled the ball, moved it wide and, from resulting open play, Tom Pashley pounced at the feet of a clearing kicker, cleaning up the ball and driving to the line. Minutes later a similar move left to right saw Lewis Milligan seize the ball on the half way line, feed Alex Voss Hillier who kicked at a perfect angle for Chris Maskill to streak onto the ball, flick a perfect chip over the defence and speed on to touch down.
 
With a disobedient wind more at their backs in the second half, Eastbourne’s purpose and handling improved. Ricky Van Bentham gained valuable territory which the forwards held. Tom Pashley gobbled the ball and squirted in a mazy run through the narrowest of gaps to touch down. The pack continued to dominate in this quarter and it smothered an Uckfield move allowing Eastbourne backs to move the ball at pace for Alex Voss Hillier to kick and run onto the ball leaving defenders in his wake for a try he converted.
 
Uckfield might have been burnt but they were still trying to beat their wings. Forcing their way close to the Eastbourne line, they wrestled the ball from a line-out and touched down. Eastbourne took control again, closing down Uckfield backs and from the resulting scrum, the ball moved smooth and fast from Peter Newman to Alex Voss Hillier who played a loop with Joe Skeet prepared by masterchef coach Fraser Brooks that opened up enough space for a darting run and try. Uckfield pushed hard in the final minutes running penalties repeatedly at the Eastbourne line but our defence was unforgiving. Manager Ian Newman, limping jubilantly at another win and continued progress, reflected on Eastbourne’s hesitancy in the ruck and the need to set up pillars – not quite the finished dish yet.
Final Score: 29-5
Tries: Pashley 2, Voss Hillier 2, Maskill
Conversions: Voss Hillier 2
 
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